Retail purchases have fallen in three of the past four months and even spending on services that had surged last year was flat in December. The Wall Street Journal reports that the wavering consumer spending figures mark a stark turnaround from spending during much of the pandemic, when consumer trends helped the country avoid a prolonged slump.
Now the forces that helped keep spending high are unwinding, while inflation remains elevated.
The share of monthly income Americans set aside for savings is sliding while credit card interest rates are rising. Recent layoff trends and the inflation that skyrocketed last year have raised concerns among many Americans.
Freight carriers are seeing the impact, as the number of big and bulky shipments declines and retail customers continue to pare inventories and push back restocking.
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